Web Design Goodies Critique #18

By Joe Burns

Web Design Goodies Critique #18

Published January 18, 2001 By Joe Burns, Ph.D.

Greetings, Fellow Designers,

At the time of the writing of this newsletter, The New Orleans Saints were in sole possession of first place in the NFC West! Thus, why not critique a football fan page?

Now the obligatory release statement...

>>>>The critique below represents the opinions of Joe Burns, Ph.D. Feel free to disagree with, argue about, forget, or accept anything he writes. The purpose of the critique is to offer examples that you may use to revise your Site or forget when it comes to your own Web site. As always, remember that there are simply no hard and fast rules to Web design. Any choice is the correct choice as long as that choice aids the user and fulfills the site's purpose for being.<<<<

Title: The New Orleans Saint History Page / Author: Phil Boyd
http://www.mindspring.com/~sapphiredesigns/saintshistory.htm
Load Time: 18 Seconds, 56-Kbps modem, cleared cache, 12/3/00 8:54 A.M.
My Screen Size: 1024X768
Browsers Used: Internet Explorer 5.5 and Netscape Navigator 4.5

Concept: This is a fan page that has really found a niche. It is a history of the Saints, rather than a current team fan page. It is so much so that the year 2000, the team's best year since the mid 80s, is not even mentioned. The latest information is for 1999, when Mike Ditka was coach and my beloved Cleveland Browns beat the Saints at the Superdome with less than 10 seconds left in the game. I was there...I watched it happen.

Praise: Kudos for doing just what I said above. You chose a niche and you stuck with it. The site is literally filled with information - I mean packed. There are both and a search function to allow Saints fans to find just about any stat they'd want. As with many sites, it's not the content that's the problem, it's the presentation. Let's take a look.

Design Image

Concern #1: The home page is in a stacked format. There is no left-to-right movement to it at all. As I see it, there are four sections to the home page. The banners you see in the screen capture (which are waaaaaay too large, by the way), the All-Saints Survey, the survey results, and then the stats and recaps by year. If you simply moved the image of the player over to the left, made each section a page unto itself and ran links down the right side of the image, the entire home page would shrink to less than half its size.

Suggestion: Try playing around with a smaller banner up top and getting some left-to-right movement on the page. It will help greatly.

Concern #2: You have ALT commands in your image tags. That's great, except the text is not representative of the image. Keep in mind the concept of the ALT tag. Yes, it will produce a yellow ToolTip when the mouse passes over it, but most importantly, it makes the information on Web pages accessible to people with disabilities using alternative browsers. The text is "read" to the user so they will know what the image represents.

Suggestion: Change your text so that it is representative of the image.


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